Constipation is one of the most common complaints I deal with in my clinics; it is very common amongst toddlers in particular. To people who have never had to cope with a constipated child it seems such a minor ailment, but it actually has a very negative effect on the child’s behaviour, family dynamics, and parents’ coping skills. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a very clear guideline in 2010 on how to manage constipation in children. You may be interested to read the parent/patient information section at http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/12993/48752/48752.pdf. A good support group is www.eric.org.uk.
Children with fecal impaction tend to hide in corners, go up on tiptoes and clench their buttocks together in a desperate attempt NOT to poo when they start to feel the urge to open their bowels – because their experience is that it hurts.